Movie review: Birth (2004)

A modern day “Rosemary’s Baby” directed by Stanley Kubrick? Well, almost. But without the horror.

This tense, wicked, mysteriously psychological drama is ultimately a deep dive into the psyche of a woman struggling with lost love, grief and madness. It’s wicked in that it at first glance is about a woman who opens her door to a boy who says he’s her dead husband reborn… What the hell?
But that’s just scratching the surface.

Even though the subject of this movie is absurd, the approach is 100% serious. They could have made this funny, but instead it’s eerie, and in the end it’s a heartbreaking experience.
The colours (brown, beige, gray) remind me of Lars von Triers “Riget”, making it almost like a fantasy. The dense atmosphere and the tone of the score only adds to the unreal.

Nicole Kidman delivers a stunning performance. Her fragile and desperately silent emotions are almost felt through the screen, especially in the famous opera scene, where the close-up of her face (with Wagner playing in the background) displays acting and camera work at its best. No cuts. An actor totally in character. It’s a magical moment in film history.

Birth” left me in a melancholic state of mind, yet still in amazement. I actually watched it two times in a row, and the second time I was even more fascinated, and it made me realize how well crafted this film really is. Even though it’s losing steam along the way, a rewatch made complete sense. I don’t want to understand it, I just want to experience it, because it moved me. I will watch it again.

Some say this is the most underrated masterpiece in film history. I have to think about that. Jonathan Glazer is without a doubt a master of mood, but this mood is certainly not for everyone.
For me, it was deeply fascinating.

Rated: 4 / 5

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